Dubai: Sharjah Club has cried foul on the clarity of the UAE Football Association [UAE FA] rules governing the Etisalat Pro League play-off competition, which concluded on Friday night.
Going into the third and final round of matches on Friday evening, all four teams involved had a chance of being one of the two that could earn a spot in the expanded Pro League, scheduled to get under way on September 23.
Sharjah did their bit by winning 2-1 against Emirates Club of Ras Al Khaimah. But a 3-2 win for Al Shaab against Al Dhafrah meant three teams finished on six points, with Sharjah the ones who missed out.
“Even if we had scored ten goals we would not have won, merely because the rules adopted were such. Al Shaab won 3-2 and, when the head-to-head was considered, we were automatically eliminated even though we have won two matches and got the same number of points as Al Dhafrah and Al Shaab,” lamented Redha Souessi, the assistant coach at Sharjah.
“The rules are really unfair and I guess we are yet to understand it all. I think with the level of play, clubs like Sharjah and Emirates are meant to be in the premier league in the UAE.
“We have made so many sacrifices to get to this stage. Our players gave it their best. The players did not even fast during Ramadan. They made the sacrficies and in the end all this did not matter just because of the rules.”
Earlier during the competition, Sharjah beat Al Shaab by a solitary goal and they would have advanced on a better goal difference had they scored another goal against Emirates Club on Friday.
“What we cannot understand is how we have to play in a lower division despite having six points just like the other two teams that have qualified. For example, if Emirates and Al Dhafrah had won tonight, then Al Dhafrah would have been out. This is unbelievable and this does not happen anywhere else in the world. I think the rules need to be thought out in a better way,” he said.
However, Souessi insisted that this is not the end of the world for the former five-time league champions. “We are very sad to go down. Hopefully we will work hard and be back in the Pro League next season,” he added.